If everyone could spend time with “Access Hollywood” co-host Nancy O’Dell and her businessman-husband of 15 months, Keith Zubchevich, the world would be a happier place.
Despite leading a go-go-go, star-struck life, they remain nice, easygoing, neighborly types who are a match made in comfort heaven. She happily crafts and he teases her because it takes so long to get around to this project or the other. When she heads to New York, for him, it’s Have Soul Mate, Will Travel. He more than holds his own in a lightning round of pop-cultural dishing. He’s tea. She’s coffee. She’s copper-toned, he’s not. They both are quick to smile.
During their recent trip East, the confluence of the U.N. General Assembly and President Bush were turning the Big Apple into the gridlock capital of the world. Every bit of travel, whether around the block or out to Long Island (where Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler revealed his long, quiet battle with hepatitis C), turns into an endurance test of nerves. Guess who won?
Early the next morning they’re starting their day on the sunny second floor of Sardi’s in the theater district, where the conversation ranges from a quick check of who likes which new TV shows (The Insider’s lips are sealed; suffice to say there is near-total agreement between The Insider and The Mister).
It turns out that in what could laughingly be called The Missus’s spare time, she has been at work on a book compiling a slew of celebs’ feelings about their mothers. It’s titled “Dear Mom: I’ve Always Wanted to Tell You” and is expected to be released in time for Mother’s Day. Proceeds will benefit Best Buddies, a group that works with the intellectually challenged.
The book was inspired by her relationship with her mother, Betty. “My Mom is like my best friend. I had this happy childhood,” she says.
So far, nearly 60 celebrities, from Beyonce, Sela Ward and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Ray Romano and The Rock, have contributed to the book. Some are short and oh-so-sweet. Some are long and laugh-out-loud funny.
Ms. O’Dell has her own entry. She’s also leaving space for the book’s buyers to write odes to their own moms.
The first thing everyone asks, of course, is: “So when is the Dad book coming out?”
Put down that question mark and back away from the busy lady whose new contract will keep her with “Access Hollywood” through 2011. She’s been with the show since it launched in 1996 and doesn’t waste time plotting future career moves.
“You get to the point where you’re so happy personally, you think, `Why mess things up professionally?”‘ she said.
Not everything about the life of a celebrity journalist who glams up for all the major red-carpet evens in Tinseltown is perfect.
“Sometimes I’d like to watch the Oscars from home,” she says, quickly adding that if that’s her worst complaint, “Well, slap me down.”